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Adelaide, Australia

ADELAIDE, capital of South Australia, established in 1836. Among its first settlers were a number of Jews engaged in commerce and sheep farming. Joseph Barrow Montefiore, a cousin of Sir Moses *Montefiore , who became in 1832 the first president of the Sydney Synagogue, lived in Adelaide at the time of the founding of the synagogue there. Local Jewish life was stimulated after 1838 by Emanuel Solomon from Sydney, who organized religious services on the New Year and the Day of Atonement and in 1845 successfully applied to the government for land for a cemetery. In 1847 Eliezer Levi Montefiore sought state support for Jewish religious institutions. In 1848 there were 58 Jews living in Adelaide, and the first congregation was organized with Judah Moss Solomon as its president. J.B. Montefiore gave addresses in English during the High Holidays. The first synagogue, used also as a schoolroom, was opened in 1850 and the present one, adjoining it, in 1870, when the community numbered 435. A.T. *Boas was invited to act as minister in 1870 and served for nearly half a century. Vabian Louis *Solomon, son of Judah Moss Solomon, was premier of the colony for a brief period in 1898. The community declined considerably in numbers after World War I, but there was a subsequent increase, especially with the emigration of Jews from Egypt after the mid-1950s. Since the 1960s the Jewish population of Adelaide has numbered about 1,200, although, unlike most other Jewish communities in Australia, there has been a decline in population in recent years. In 2001, according to the Australian census, 979 persons declared themselves to be Jewish by religion. An Orthodox and a Liberal synagogue operated. There were no other organized Jewish communities in South Australia apart from Adelaide, where the South Australian Board of Deputies had its headquarters.


H. Munz, Jews in South Australia (1936); Saphir (trans. by Falk), in: Journal of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, 1 (1948), 192–4; Goldman, ibid., 4 (1958), 351, 376; Apple, ibid., 6 (1968), 206–7, 209–10. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: H.L. Rubinstein, in: JA I, index, and W.D. Rubinstein, in: JA II, index; B.K. Hyams, Surviving: A History of the Institutions and Organisations of the Adelaide Jewish Community (1998).

[Israel Porush /

William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.